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"It's a no-brainer for me."

Cheney indicated the Bush administration doesn't regard waterboarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said. [previously]
posted by chunking express on Oct 26, 2006 - 196 comments

This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like

This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like -- David Corn, co-author with Michael Isikoff of HUBRIS: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, writes about what waterboarding is and what the torturer's tools look like. Back in the day, the Khmer Rouge, among other repressive regimes, used it. Interestingly, waterboarding typically isn't employed to gain useful information. No, this near-drowning technique is most useful for eliciting "confessions". Good times, good times. ( via reddit via Diggdot.us)
posted by mooncrow on Sep 29, 2006 - 167 comments

The Great Writ

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). It was so pre-9/11 anyway. Instead we may get "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." What could go wrong?
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2006 - 156 comments

A Rogue State

A Rogue State. Matt Yglesias sums up what America has become after the McCain "Compromise."
posted by empath on Sep 26, 2006 - 48 comments

Six Questions on the American 'Gulag' & Pardon Me, Please

Does the tolerance for abuses committed during the “war on terrorism” have any implications for the health of democracy at home?

The President’s broad new powers in the signing statements that enable him to override Congress have corroded the American system of checks and balances. American law enforcement agencies can now wiretap American civilians and detain citizens and permanent residents without charges, and consequently without evidence. Last week the House passed legislation to build a 700-mile Israeli-style fence on the U.S.–Mexico border and to deploy there many of the surveillance technologies tested in Iraq. Perhaps the domestic installation of wartime technologies and military surveillance in civilian settings has become acceptable to us because we have become accustomed, as Soviet citizens did during the endless Stalinist purges, to open-ended wars—wars with no opening salvo and no concluding treaty. Whether or not one agrees that American detention centers and secret prisons are the “Gulag of our time,” the comparison deserves serious consideration. It might help us shine a torch into the dark corners of repression, where the totalitarian qualities of our own society lurk, before the scale of violence ascends to Gulag dimensions.
Six Questions on the American “Gulag” for Historian Kate Brown
See also Bush seeks immunity for violating War Crimes Act
posted by y2karl on Sep 24, 2006 - 50 comments

Torture 'R US[A]

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited
Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'
The Facts on the Ground: Mini-Gulags, Hired Guns, Lobbyists, and a Reality Built on Fear
U.S. troops in Iraq are Tehran's 'hostages'
Anti-Americanism Is A Glue
posted by y2karl on Sep 22, 2006 - 92 comments

"The President has the authority."

Senators cave on torture.
posted by EarBucket on Sep 21, 2006 - 252 comments

Trevor vs. The Torture Taxi

Trevor Paglen is a scholar and artist who investigates the California prison-industrial complex and secret military bases in his work as an "experimental geographer." In his new book, Tracking the Torture Taxi, Paglen uses the methods of "21st century participatory journalism" (including a Google Earth image of a CIA interrogation facility) to uncover the network of private planes (such as Aero Contractors of Smithfield, NC) that whisk people off to secret prisons without oversight.
posted by jonp72 on Sep 20, 2006 - 6 comments

Who Are The Prisoners at Guantánamo, The Prisoners Speak & Calling Cruelty What It Is

After two months of sifting the information, Hegland had her answer. 'The data was really clear,' she says. 'It was mind-boggling.' It showed that most of the detainees hadn’t been caught 'on the battlefield' but rather mostly in Pakistan; fewer than half were accused of fighting against the U.S., and there was scant evidence to confirm that they were even combatants. In other words, most of the detainees probably were entirely innocent. Just a few days after Hegland published a three-part series on her findings in early February, a law professor at Seton Hall University... and his son, ...who together have represented Guantanamo detainees, published a study that also used the Defense Department’s own data... Only 8 percent of detainees at Guantanamo were labeled by the Defense Department as 'al Qaeda fighters,' they found, and just 11 percent had been captured 'on the battlefield' by coalition forces.
Who are the Prisoners at Gitmo?
posted by y2karl on Sep 19, 2006 - 88 comments

Arar Commission Releases Report

Yesterday, the Arar Commission released their report on the handling of the Maher Arar case, previously mentioned here or here. The findings are widely reported; Canada is self-flagellating for being complicit in the United States' abduction and torture of a Canadian citizen. As President Bush goes to Congress to lobby for the legal authority to abduct and torture anyone without a trial, Arar should consider himself lucky: although Canada didn't help him out for a year, the Canadian government and news media were aware of and interested in his confinement, which likely saved him from the worst tortures. As a famous legal scholar commented some 240 years ago, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."
posted by jellicle on Sep 19, 2006 - 102 comments

"Sleeplessness . . . befogs the reason, undermines the will, and the human being ceases to be himself, to be his own 'I.' "

Most everybody's asleep in Grover's Corners. There are a few lights on: Shorty Hawkins, down at the depot, has just watched the Albany train go by. And at the livery stable somebody's setting up late and talking. -- Yes, it's clearing up. There are the stars - doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain's so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest. Hm... Eleven o'clock in Grover's Corners. -- You get a good rest, too. Good night.
posted by orthogonality on Sep 18, 2006 - 20 comments

Comfort Women

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations adopted a bipartisan resolution to ask the Japanese government to formally apologize for sexually enslaving up to 200,000 "comfort women" in Imperial brothels during its colonial occupation of Asia from 1932 through the end of World War II. Many were tortured and raped, and only about 30% survived WWII. Japan has stated repeatedly that even though the brothels were established by military policy, the imperial government was not directly involved in operating them. Taking responsibility would be an admission that they committed war crimes -- slavery and trafficking in women and children -- and could give victims a legal basis to sue for reparations.

H Res. 759 does not ask Japan to provide reparations, but it does push them to unambiguously acknowledge what happened and educate future generations, (full text) rather than continue the current practice of denying what really happened. Previously on MeFi.
posted by zarq on Sep 15, 2006 - 56 comments

Spooks frightened

CIA Staff Worried Following on this previous (archived) post, it appears that some CIA staff are concerned the Justice Department might not defend them from charges of torture or human rights violations. " . . . some CIA officers have worried privately that they may have violated international law or domestic criminal statutes."
posted by Kirth Gerson on Sep 11, 2006 - 25 comments

...from that block came the sound of screaming ...

Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors. Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
posted by amberglow on Sep 10, 2006 - 27 comments

This is more than torture.

The complete Abu Ghraib Video and Photo Collection Updated. Salon completes it's archive comprising of 279 photos and 19 videos spread across ten galleries oringinally posted to Mefi on 16th Feb. Pictures and videos are disturbing and definitely NSFW. (may require log-in by watching a quick advert).
posted by Funmonkey1 on Aug 6, 2006 - 31 comments

Bush Administration fears war crimes trials

Gonzalez seeks "protection" from War Crimes Act of 1996 Ten years ago, the Republican Congress passed the War Crimes Act, which makes violations of the Geneva Convention by Americans criminal acts. Now, the Attorney General is urging the current Republican Congress to "shield" those who participate in the War On Terror from the Act.
posted by Kirth Gerson on Jul 28, 2006 - 68 comments

Nobody pays you to think.

Criticizing the food is OK, just don't mention the water: the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and . . . worried "the seventh floor" at CIA
posted by If I Had An Anus on Jul 21, 2006 - 38 comments

Torture Doctors Without Borders

How Doctors Got Into the Torture Business
An Interview with Steven Miles: The torture-endangered Society
posted by y2karl on Jun 28, 2006 - 59 comments

"We do not torture." -- G.W.B. 7/11/05

The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
posted by EarBucket on Jun 5, 2006 - 77 comments

Dishonor, Blood and Treasure - By The Numbers

Two years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, new research shows that abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay has been widespread, and that the United States has taken only limited steps to investigate and punish implicated personnel. A briefing paper issued today, 'By the Numbers,' presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project... the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. The project has collected hundreds of allegations of detainee abuse and torture occurring since late 2001 – allegations implicating more than 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel and involving more than 460 detainees.
U.S.: More Than 600 Implicated in Detainee Abuse

See also Projected Iraq War Costs Soar, See also The Trillion Dolllar War.
posted by y2karl on Apr 27, 2006 - 110 comments

Torture on Tennessee Soil

Let me tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna put them handcuffs in front of ya. Cut you a little slack. But if you don't start operating, we're gonna put the mother fuckers behind your back, and I'm gonna take this slapjack and I'm gonna start working that head over, you understand? ...you sign this son of a bitch, or I'm gonna hit you again. Audio. .pdf transcript. Full Story.
posted by Kwantsar on Apr 25, 2006 - 60 comments

Rumsfeld expressed puzzlement at the notion that his policies had caused the abuse

“My God, you know, did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy's head?” Rumsfeld “personally involved” in abuses at Guantanamo - according to a recently obtained (by Salon) army inspector general report which contains a sworn statement from a Lt. General
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 18, 2006 - 101 comments

Guantanamo Bay for kids?

Les Enfants Perdu de Tranquility Bay. (Google Video). Recently shown on Australian public TV, this French documentary explores a multi-billion dollar corporation that treats American teens like "faulty goods" sent back for repair. An octopus fishing incident is one of several heartbreaking episodes.
posted by johngoren on Apr 12, 2006 - 36 comments

Dave Schultz, Tie Domi, Bob Probert...

Cofer Black, Director of the CIA Counterterrorism center until May 2002 said before the 9/11 commission: “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off… ‘No Limits’ aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us is the only way to go…” Since that time there have been allegations of abduction and indefinite detention in secret prisons abroad , abuse in prisons within the U.S. and the suppression of evidence of coercion overseas in confessions in U.S. courts. (Ahmed Omar Abu Ali prev. here). In addition to Amnesty Int’l, it’s getting the U.S. some UN attention as well.
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 7, 2006 - 30 comments

The United States does not torture -- GWB, 11/05

Abu Ghraib, continued. A new cache of disturbing images and videos from the original interrogations, with commentary from Salon. [Definitely NSFW, or for Earth, for that matter.]
posted by digaman on Mar 14, 2006 - 48 comments

Your Hosts, Lynndie and Charles, Welcome You to the New Interrogation Facility

Adieu, Abu Ghraib -- we hardly knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there , or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old to avoid bad associations?
posted by digaman on Mar 9, 2006 - 51 comments

Guantanamo interrogation log

Now, as an increasing number of detainees mount legal challenges to their incarceration, TIME is making the record of al-Qahtani's treatment available to the public in its entirety [pdf]. Also read the companion Time article about Mohammad al-Qahtani, the so-called "20th hijacker."
posted by rxrfrx on Mar 3, 2006 - 12 comments

Getting Away with Murder

Getting Away with Murder A new Human Rights First report [PDF] "provides the first comprehensive accounting" of the 98 cases of detainees who have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2002. "Thirty-four deaths were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition...Only 12 deaths have resulted in any kind of punishment." Most of the people behind the abuse have been promoted. The Washington Post concludes that, based on the report, US policy seems to be that torturing a foreign prisoner to death is excusable, but getting photographed doing it will get you in trouble.
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 28, 2006 - 16 comments

Torture

Lust's passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes-Marquis de Sade (tyannizes NSFW) (MI)
posted by snsranch on Feb 15, 2006 - 24 comments

Suppressed Abu Ghraib photos leaked

60 "secret" Abu Ghraib photos have been leaked to the Sydney Morning Herald. (Warning, very NSFW and disturbing.) They are thought to be among those viewed in private by U.S. senators following a May, 2004 hearing and "withheld from the public to protect the integrity of military trials and to avoid further inflaming America's enemies."
posted by Saucy Intruder on Feb 14, 2006 - 193 comments

He has the balls to torture

Jack Bauer isn't afraid to cut the eyes out of any (deliberative) body; or, Rupert Murdoch demonstrates the 17th Amendment's fatal flaw.
posted by orthogonality on Feb 3, 2006 - 37 comments

'Cause The Bible Told Me So

Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize on Jan 27, 2006 - 42 comments

Bush could bypass new torture ban

Bush could bypass new torture ban [From the here-we-go-again department. ] When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.
posted by Postroad on Jan 4, 2006 - 87 comments

Silence is Broken

A Disturbance in the Blogosphere: Publishing the UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memo. Braving arrest, bloggers have broken the UK’s law of silence with the truth about torture. Bloggers are mass publishing the leaked UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memos. The memos are from the correspondences of Craig Murray who was the United Kingdom's ambassador to Uzbekistan. These memos are evidence and a memorandum of record outlining the rendition and torture of US-arrested prisoners in Uzbekistan. From Craig Murray's Memo: 12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the [UN] Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." 13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful.
posted by Dunvegan on Dec 29, 2005 - 246 comments

These are not the Reditioned Canadiens your looking for

What you get when a Cars Salesman is your Ambassador Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing It seems the only way the truth is admitted is under glaring pressure by our allies.
posted by Elim on Dec 27, 2005 - 48 comments

CIA Arrest warrants

At last, someone is going to take the legal route. Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA Agents suspected of involvement in the US kidnap/torture policy. "The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said." That's more lost clients for the European tourist industry.
posted by cassbrown1 on Dec 24, 2005 - 45 comments

The Conyers Files

Conyers Flies Paper Airplane into Whitehouse. Rep. John Conyers has submitted motions to censure Bush and Cheney, and to establish a select committee to investigate their offenses. He outlines the evidence in The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War. (3.8MB pdf)
posted by stonerose on Dec 20, 2005 - 139 comments

A short hop from (Klaus) Barbie to (Lynndie) England?

Barbarism begins with Barbie — the doll, that is. Research done at the University of Bath (UK) posits that prepubescents' pre-eminent plasticine plaything provokes disproportionate punishment. According to the study, which originally focused on the effects of branding on young consumers, the statuesque Mattel mini-miss seems to attract undue savagery. "The researchers had not intended to focus on Barbie, but they were taken aback by the rejection, hatred and violence she provoked when they asked the children about their feelings for the doll. Violence and torture against Barbie were repeatedly reported across age, school and gender. No other toy or brand name provoked such a negative response."
posted by rob511 on Dec 19, 2005 - 46 comments

"But, Comrade Stalin," stammered Beria, "five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. . . . . When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.
Vladimir Bukovsky, "who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities," explains how America's use of torture "will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East."
posted by orthogonality on Dec 18, 2005 - 93 comments

Secret Prisons - Not Just For Despots Anymore

The US has admitted for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody. Meanwhile, the German citizen picked up by the CIA and tortured in one of the secret prisons, based solely on having the same name as a suspected terrorist, would really, really like an apology from someone. If you think things are getting out of hand, why not join the Amnesty International Write-a-thon? You can get the message across to the people in charge and let them know that you don't support prisoner abuse or rendition to secret prisons.
posted by Dag Maggot on Dec 9, 2005 - 80 comments

Repugnant to reason, justice, and humanity

NewsFilter: Highest UK court rules against torture evidence. The Law Lords, the UK equivalent of the Supreme Court, issued a stern ruling condemning torture, and incidentally containing some judicial criticism of US policy. [more inside]
posted by athenian on Dec 8, 2005 - 23 comments

Restoring the old order

Abuse in Iraq Now Worse Then Under Saddam 'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' [Iraq Prime Minister] Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.' Let's see ... no WMDs, no al-Queda ties, and now this. I'm so glad that we are making Iraq a better place.
posted by robhuddles on Nov 27, 2005 - 69 comments

Abu Ali guilty of terror plot

Abu Ali guilty of terror plot. A Virginia jury has found Ahmed Omar Abu Ali guilty of terrorism related crimes. The prosecution charged he provided material support to Al Qaeda (pdf). His defenders claim his confession while in Saudi custody was obtained through torture. Does the goal of preventing terrorism justify relying on the Saudi's questionable interrogation methods?
posted by justkevin on Nov 22, 2005 - 11 comments

Torturing in our name

"We do not torture" (Bush, Nov. 7)
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture... (Hadley, Nov. 13) -- The fate of a House provision to ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody is in doubt, strongly opposed by the Administration. And don't call it torture: the preferred talking point wording is now enhanced interrogation techniques.
posted by amberglow on Nov 14, 2005 - 109 comments

The London Cage

The London Cage. Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo on Nov 12, 2005 - 12 comments

Torture

'Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. US law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a ‘state of public emergency’) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.’ (Report of the United States to the UN Committee against Torture, October 15, 1999, UN Doc. CAT/C/28/Add.5, February 9, 2000, para. 6.)
posted by alms on Nov 9, 2005 - 59 comments

The American way of torture

Has the C.I.A. legally killed prisoners? Two years ago, Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspected Iraqi insurgent, walked into a Baghdad interrogation room. He was dead in 45 minutes, his head covered with a plastic bag, shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that led to his asphyxiation. U.S. authorities classified his death a homicide. His CIA interrogator has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency. President Bush says "We do not torture." But if that’s true, then why is Vice President Cheney fighting to exempt CIA interrogators from a torture ban? And al-Jamadi? His case is stalled in the Alberto Gonzalez Justice Department, two years after soldiers posed for thumbs-up pictures next to his corpse.
posted by sacre_bleu on Nov 9, 2005 - 49 comments

Teen transport

For $1,800, ex-molester Rick Strawn will abduct your kid into an unregulated gulag. A harrowing piece of journalism from the rarely-glimpsed world of the teen punishment industry.
posted by johngoren on Nov 9, 2005 - 74 comments

God Bless Helen Thomas

Being Press Secretary is a difficult job. Link to a hilariously uncomfortable transcript of Scott McClellan dancing his way through a White House press briefing doing his best to clarify whether or not the American government sanctions terror.
posted by jonson on Nov 9, 2005 - 52 comments

Suggestion of Torture

Cheyney the Torturer? According to Dan Froomkin today, Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to the secretary of state) said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
posted by shiska on Nov 4, 2005 - 52 comments

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